Audi Russia chief Achim Saurer says the low- and mid-priced segments of the Russian market will bear the brunt of what is projected to be a 30% year-on-year decline in sales this year, creating opportunities for higher-end brands.
The government says it will take fluctuations in the value of the ruble and other currencies into account when determining the percentage of locally sourced components required in foreign automakers’ car-assembly operations.
Ford’s current level of localization in Russia is estimated at 40%, and the automaker says it intends to raise that share to 83%-85% by 2019. That is significantly higher than the 60% target stipulated in an agreement with the government.
Construction is targeted to begin by the end of the year and be completed by the end of 2016. The plant is expected to reach capacity by 2017. Planned production volumes and location of the operation have not been disclosed.
Automakers support the government subsidies but also want regulations on assembly operations eased, support for new agreements with foreign manufacturers, resumption of preferential auto lending and limits on steel exports.
The automaker is adding the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Tahoe to a production schedule comprising a third SUV, the Chevrolet Trailblazer, and the Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze. St. Petersburg gets the Opel Mokka in 2016.
Mercedes parent Daimler reportedly continues searching for a local production partner. That would allow the automaker to sidestep the Russian government’s recent ban on state purchases of imported cars.
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